A couple weekends ago my friend called and said she and her husband were going to be passing my apartment after a day of outlet shopping and asked if I wanted to do a drink. I told her just to stop by on her way back and I would have cocktails and snacks ready—a much better option after a long day of shopping. As I was collecting various cheeses and some crackers at the grocery store, I passed the refrigerated meats – for some reason the chicken sausage caught my eye. I tossed a package of Johnsonville’s chicken sausage with apples in the basket, not knowing what I was going to do with them. Nevertheless, they sounded good.
Upon arriving home, I set out the brie so it would get soft and set about relaxing. As I sat reading I thought that soup sounded really good on this particularly cold day. The best part: I could make it early and leave it simmer on the stove while we had cocktails. Even better, if my friends were cold and hungry I would have a nice dinner at the ready. In the end it proved perfect—my friends were tired and hungry and the soup was the best fix. We started with an assortment of cheeses and crackers, then moved to my newfound chicken sausage soup with some baguette. It was a wonderful winter’s day—good food, friends, and cocktails.
Chicken Sausage and Vegetable Soup
1 package Johnsonville fully cooked chicken sausage with real apple (4 sausages), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, diced (yields about 2 cups)
1 bunch celery, chopped (yields about 5 or 6 cups)
2 ½ cups carrots, chopped (I used baby carrots since they are smaller)
2 tablespoons butter (or 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon olive oil)
3 cups spinach
1 jar, 15.5 ounces Tostitos chunky medium salsa
5.5 ounces cannellini beans
32 ounces low sodium vegetable broth
1. Heat butter (or butter and olive oil) in a large pot.
2. When pot has heated, turn burner to medium/high heat and add chopped carrots, cooking about 4 minutes.
3. Next add diced onion and chopped celery, cooking 5-7 minutes
4. Once carrots and celery begin to soften, add 32 ounces vegetable broth and reduce to a simmer
5. Next, add the pieces of chicken sausage, cannellini beans, and jar of salsa and simmer for 15-20 minutes (you can simmer longer depending on when you want to serve)
6. Finally, bring the soup to a boil, add the spinach; cook until the spinach is wilted
7. Spoon soup into big bowls and serve with baguette